Why Haven’t I Been Making Caramelly Brown Sugar Toast All My Life?

It’s sweet, buttery, and crunchy–and ready in just 10 minutes.

Published May 2, 2022.

It was an ordinary day. I was perched at my desk in our ATK offices when Deputy Food Editor Andrea Geary quietly walked up and placed a plate beside my laptop. It held a thick, perfectly square slice of bread that was deeply and evenly browned, and it sparkled in the sunlight streaming in from a nearby window. When Andrea stops by with a snack, I never ask questions, I just dive right in. This time, she stood by and smiled as I crunched my way through what turned out to be the buttery, sugary, delight she calls Caramelly Brown Sugar Toast.

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A thick, fluffy slice of shokupan is a pleasure in its own right, but that day, Andrea had the genius idea of turning generous slices of the downy bread into crisp, sweet toast. It’s the best kind of treat: pure, simple, and wholly satisfying. 

If you have a loaf of shokupan on hand (which I can’t recommend strongly enough), then making the confection takes only 10 minutes: It’s as easy as spreading a brown sugar-and-salted butter mixture onto a thick slice of bread, and griddling it until the butter browns and the sugar melts and caramelizes, turning a deep tawny brown. As the toast cools, the sugar-butter mixture firms up and turns wonderfully crunchy. 

How to Make Caramelly Brown Sugar Toast

1. Mix together 1 tablespoon softened salted butter and 1 tablespoon packed dark brown sugar.

 2. Evenly spread half of mixture on 1 side of 1-inch-thick slice of shokupan and place bread butter side down in small nonstick skillet.

3. Spread remaining butter mixture on top of bread.  

4. Cook over medium heat until browned and crisp on both sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side, watching carefully and adjusting heat to prevent burning. 

5. Transfer to wire rack to crisp and cool slightly before serving.


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How to Serve Caramelly Brown Sugar Toast

Now that I’ve memorized the incredibly simple recipe, I make it all the time, and the payoff is huge: With a cold glass of milk, it’s a truly special midday or midnight snack. Need an indulgent breakfast item for guests? Add some sliced bananas, you’ll wow them. It’s also terrific as a lazy dessert, served with a big spoonful of whipped cream and a handful of fresh berries or pitted cherries.  

Check out Andrea’s recipe for shokupan here.


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